Updated: Jul 8, 2022
Surviving the last days:
Dear believer, have you found yourself lately looking out your window at the world and whispering, “Come, Lord Jesus. Come quickly?”
I encourage you to read Revelation Chapter 2 along with this short study.
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There is a quickening that takes hold as we watch the ways of the world become more openly wicked. With movies, books and media promoting these dark, intriguing lifestyles to our children, they grow up with an interest in the occult without knowing what is really happening. Society would have us follow satan to the gates of Sheol with tambourines and flutes, dancing all the way. Like a pied piper he leads us down the dark path and into a cage of self serving thoughts and actions that can lead to destruction. Just as the seven churches in the beginning of Revelation have various failures and indulgences, we the followers of Christ can easily slip into a bog of sin and find ourselves buried to the neck in wickedness with the weight of our guilt and shame holding us down.
Wether you are a struggling believer or a steadfast prayer warrior, we all struggle with sin and temptation. Satan can knock on your door at any moment and just like the wolf who fooled red riding hood, we might not always recognize him. So, how do we keep ourselves strong in our walk with the one true God? How do we keep our steadfast faith? It's simple. Fellowship.
As I read through a revelation chapter 2 this morning, these words stand out… “to him who overcomes I will…” These words remind me that we can overcome the struggles of this world and the temptations of the evil one but we cannot do that alone. We need to rely on God for the strength and grace it requires but how can we rely on a God that we do not know? If I don’t seek His will in my life and I don’t spend time in His word, how can I expect Him to “take the wheel” and direct my path or keep me from dashing my foot against every evil stone the devil throws in my way?
““To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’”
The church of Ephesus had several good attributes. They were hard working, patient, and careful to remove the deceivers from their midst, but they had lost their focus. How easy it is to live a christian life and do all the christian things and yet be simply going through the motions without a true devotion or faithful relationship with Christ. The church was reminded to pickup and do the first works as they had in the beginning, just as we need to remember how we believed and prayed when we first came to know Jesus. Then comes the promise to those who overcome. They will be given to eat from the tree of life.
““And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” ’”
The church of Smyrna was being persecuted. They suffered tribulations and poverty. They are even encouraged not to fear the things they were about to suffer. God saw their trials and perseverance. He does not criticize them. Instead, He promises a crown of life to those who remain faithful.
If you were told you would be thrown in prison for 10 days, that you would suffer and be tempted for God’s sake would you keep the faith and lean on Him to hold you up? What if you were told nothing but those trials and tribulations just appeared in your life one day without warning? Sometimes we think we are being singled out and punished for some unknown reason when life starts beating us down, but the Lord promised us that we would suffer for His name. Those trials are coming and we have been warned but we have also been promised eternal life in Christ Jesus if we persevere.
““And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. ” ’”
The church of Pergamos was one of compromise. Allowing the lies and evil lifestyle the devil promotes to have a place in our lives is compromise. As much as we concern ourselves with the source and quality of our edible foods, we should equity be aware of the spiritual foods we consume. The thinks we watch and read, or the hobbies that fill our lives with ungodly thoughts and activities. In Pergamos, the church was allowing satanic practices into their lives and teachings. These practices did not die off with the passing of time. They remain a stronghold in the world today, well hidden and widely accepted by the unaware. Believers need to keep their eyes open and watch the world around them. How can you see the enemy attempt to sneak up on you if you are always looking the other way? Again, to those who overcome there is a promise, hidden manna and a white stone with a new name on it. Reminders that God is promising to care for us and cover our sins.
““And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ — as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’”
Thyatira was a corrupt church. They allowed more than just sin in the camp. False teachers can easily lead a believe who is not steadfast in the faith or consistent in fellowship with the Lord, down a path of sin and destruction. Did you know that even allowing such a thing to exist in the church but not hands on participating is still a sin? If we know that there is a false teacher among us and we do nothing to remove them, we are still at fault. How easy it is, oh believer, to fall into a trap and get caught up in a whirlwind. Before you know it, you’re in a place you don’t want to be and you don’t recognize the person you have become. Still, with all the sin that had corrupted this church there were some who remained faithful to God. He promised those who overcame and kept his works until the end, that He would give them power over the nations.
No matter what you have been through and no matter where you are now, fellowship and faith can get you to the finish line. Walk slow and steady, believer. If we focus on the one who was, who is, and who is to come, He will walk beside us. I encourage you to have fellowship with Him daily, and seek His will for the path you take every morning. We are living in the end of days and now is the time to focus our eyes on God.
Have. blessed day little sparrows,